It was quite an unusual sight at Wrigley Field on Tuesday afternoon–not only were the Cubs riding a one-game winning streak, but the organization trotted out four homegrown players in their starting lineup for perhaps the first time in team history. Felix Pie–making his big league debut in center–joined former Cubs farmhands Ronny Cedeno, Matt Murton and Ryan Theriot as starters. The apparent youth movement came much to the dismay of Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, who loves mediocre, aging veterans.
“I don’t care that these youngsters hit for high averages, steal bases and hustle all the time. They are still not ready,” said Hendry. “Jacque Jones and Cliff Floyd have been in the league a long time, so they must deserve to be in the lineup every day even if they can’t field or deliver a timely hit.”
Tuesday’s game started in familiar fashion for the Cubs as they fell into an early 3-1 hole. Pie, called up Monday night after Alfonso Soriano pulled a hammy Monday night, delivered an RBI double in the fifth and scored the tying run later that inning on a Derrek Lee single. That ended the scoring for a long, long time.
The Padres bullpen shut the door for the next nine innings, while Cubs pitchers walked the tight-rope every inning, including the 10th when Pie bailed out the beleaguered pen by gunning down the go-ahead run with a perfect throw to catcher Michael Barrett.
“I guess Felix got lucky with that one,” said Hendry. “I’ve seen Jacque make that throw hundreds of times, and believe me, some day soon he’ll actually get it to the infield dirt on a fly.”
The bullpen finally caved in the 14th, when manager Lou Piniella was forced to use Will Ohman, the last reliever available to him. The Cubs fate was immediately sealed. Naturally, the Padres broke the scoring drought off Ohman for the 4-3 victory.
Number of the game: 1
Former NL batting champs with decent speed who were stuck on the bench during final inning after a goofy Dusty Baker-like double switch by Piniella brought Daryle Ward to the plate. When Ward shocked the Chicago sports world with a double off Trevor Hoffman, Piniella pinch ran for him with pitcher Jason Marquis. If only Derrek Lee had stayed in the game.